One of two successful spin-off series from Man About the House (the other was Robin's Nest), which followed some of the characters after they had moved out of their Earl's Court terraced flat. George and Mildred was arguably the more successful thanks in no small part to the wonderful chemistry between the two leads, Brian Murphy and Yootha Joyce.
Intent on climbing up the social ladder, Mildred Roper is determined to move into 46 Peacock Terrace, a town house in the 'well-to-do' suburb of Hampton Wick. This goes totally against the grain for self-proclaimed working class (although in reality work shy) George. To this end he raises every objection he can think of until, that is, he meets the next-door neighbour, snooty Jeffrey Fourmile. Class-conscious Jeffrey is aghast with horror at the thought of living next to the Roper's after he has seen George and Mildred arrive for their house viewing on motorbike and sidecar. When Jeffrey's young son, Tristram, lets it slip at how common his father thinks the Roper's are, George typically agrees to the purchase of the house.
The relationship between the Roper's had not changed since Man About The House; he was unemployed (although he briefly took a job as a traffic warden), useless around the house and even more useless in the bedroom, having given up on sex years ago. She was sex-starved, man hungry and striving to be, but always falling short of being, upwardly mobile. Although Mildred got on famously with the likeable Ann Fourmile, George took great pleasure in constantly finding ways to wind up Jeffrey either on a one-to-one basis or by corrupting young Tristram. To complete the Roper horror show for Jeffrey, he also had to contend with George's shifty friend Jerry (Roy Kinnear), whilst Mildred was non-too keen on her materialistic sister Ethel (Avril Elgar) and brother-in-law Humphrey (Reginald Marsh).
The show was successful enough to generate an end-of-the-pier show in Bournemouth in 1977 and a feature film, of questionable quality, was made in 1980. A sixth series was planned to go into production later that year but on 24 August star Yootha Joyce died suddenly at the age of 53. Like Man About The House there was also a spin-off series in the USA (The Roper's - also spun-off from Three's Company), although that only ran for one season (1979-80). The series was often been repeated on the now defunct UK cable/satellite channel Granada +, where it stood up comfortably to the test of time (sometimes a real 'dater' when it comes to comedy) thanks to sparkling scripts from creators Johnnie Mortimer and Brian Cooke and the charismatic performances of its lead stars.
Published on December 18th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.